Two Asian women were attacked in New York City on Sunday by a stranger who demanded they remove their masks before striking one in the head with a hammer, police said.
The two women, 31 and 29, respectively, were walking together in the 410 block of West 42nd Street at about 8:40 p.m. when a woman confronted them on the sidewalk, yelling at them to remove their masks, according to the New York City Police Department. She then struck the 31-year-old woman in the head with a hammer, which caused a laceration, police said.
No arrests have been made as of Tuesday evening.
“She was talking to herself… I thought maybe she was drunk or something, so we just wanted to pass through her quickly,” the victim, who went by her first name, Theresa, told ABC7. “When I passed through her, she saw us and said ‘Take off your f—— mask,’ which is shocking.”
ABC7 reported that the victim was stable after being rushed to the hospital.
Sunday’s alleged assault occurred on the same day that hundreds of New Yorkers gathered for a rally condemning the spike in violence against Asians and Asian Americans.
The city has reported 42 hate crime incidents against Asians and Asian Americans, according to the NYPD Hate Crimes Dashboard, which was last updated April 22 and lists the last incident confirmed in March. In all of 2020, the NYPD dashboard showed 28 hate crime incidents.
But the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force said the city recorded 80 anti-Asian hate crimes from January to the beginning of April, reported the Wall Street Journal.
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Similar incidents have been documented in other cities, especially those with large Asian populations such as San Francisco and Oakland, California.
In March, the organization Stop AAPI Hate — founded last year in response to increased targeting of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders during the pandemic — said it had received reports of nearly 3,800 hate incidents in a year and estimated that was only a fraction of the actual number.
In April, the U.S. Senate passed legislation aimed at fighting the rise in hate crimes against members of the AAPI community.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo condemned the “senseless and despicable” attack in a statement to NBC.
“I am disgusted by this violent attack in Midtown Manhattan, the latest seemingly senseless and despicable hate crime against Asian Americans in this state,” Cuomo said in a statement Tuesday. “We will do everything in our power to protect those who are vulnerable to these attacks and to hold cowardly perpetrators accountable to the full extent of the law.”